It is my honor and pleasure to bring you, with his permission, the full text of Frederick M. Huchel’s presentation at the recent UK Temple Studies Group symposium, entitled “The Cosmic Ring-Dance of the Angels: An Early Christian Rite of the Temple.”  Prefacing the presentation are some words of introduction by Frederick Huchel, himself, followed by an abstract of the paper. Below these you will find a link to a .pdf file of the presentation. Many thanks to Bro. Huchel for allowing me to post his excellent paper on my site. –David Larsen

Introductory Comments

Having known Margaret Barker for some years, I have a great appreciation for her groundbreaking work in Biblical study. I have been particularly interested in the way that her work provides elucidation for our own Latter-day Saint scriptures, and the Restoration through the Prophet Joseph Smith (See my explanation of the importance of Dr. Barker’s work to Latter-day Saints in my review of her recent book Temple Themes in Christian Worship, published under the title “Antecedents of the Restoration in the Ancient Temple” in The FARMS Review, Volume 21, Number 1 [2009]). I was honored and humbled to be asked to discuss the ancient temple circle dance at Symposium II of the Temple Studies Group at historic Temple Church in London in May, 2009. I saw this as a great opportunity, especially a unique opportunity to introduce Joseph Smith and the Restoration to a new group of open-minded and intellectually generous scholars, in a context that would have resonance with them, from the background of their own traditions.

I found them to be a most gracious, polite, warm, and cordial body of believing Christians of many faiths, and Jews, interested in understanding the tradition of the temple, back to Solomon. We felt most welcome, and the reaction of those with whom I spoke afterwards was altogether positive.

I am pleased to have David Larsen, who attended the symposium, post the text of my presentation on his website.  –Frederick M. Huchel

The Cosmic Ring-Dance of the Angels

An Early Christian Rite of the Temple

Frederick M. Huchel


In examining what can be reconstructed of the liturgy of the First Temple, and its apparent restoration in early Christianity, no loss can be more significant – or more poignant – than the loss of the sacred choral ring dance of prayer, which was seen to mirror the cosmic circle dance of the concourses of angels, in their concentric heavenly spheres – a dance which had the effect of opening up a conduit, from the Holy of Holies, up through the planetary spheres, to unfold a view of God Most High upon his celestial throne, in the highest Heaven, as chronicled in the experiences of such ancient prophets as Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the apostle John on Patmos.

The experiences of Joseph Smith, from his initial theophany to his translation of the experiences of Lehi and the Lord Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon, to the Pentecostal experiences surrounding the dedication of the Kirtland Temple in 1836, combine with his restoration of the ancient circle of prayer to bolster our understanding of the Biblical record, and provide a greater understanding of this ancient rite of the Temple.

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